Old Daily Shows--February 2001

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

February 28, 2001

I was good and wrote to people at Clarkson about possible CS internships over the summer. Go me! Also I finally stuck things in the mail for my parents, despite the Post Office attempting (again!) to foil my plot.

Good and bad bits today, as usual. One pair of less desirable ones: I had to go to the bathroom during music theory, and while I was out of the room, they looked at the Brahms piano piece that's taken from a Scottish folk song. Doh! And then I think I may have fallen asleep in Russian Music, because there was a piece of paper on the table in front of me that I don't remember having been given. Dar.

Yay for petty stupidity on my part.

The weather is. Moreover, it is something. That something is often silly. I wish it would pick a season, preferably one not so damn humid.

Alas, however, it is not to be. Maybe I'll get sleep, though. I doubt it, but maybe. G'night.

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February 27, 2001

I'm singing the solo on Mixed Company's Waltzing Matilda. Yay!

Computer architecture exam sort of blew, which is not happy-making. Oh well. On the other hand, other people thought it hard as well. Somewhat better--misery loving company, and all that.

Eileen and David January and I are friends. We just spent a while talking about this and that. I'm so glad to be in a place where friends happen. Yay!

We sang rounds in rehearsal (MoCo) this evening, and it was lovely. Whee! Thank goodness for goodness.

Music is good sometimes. We must take some pains to remember this.

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February 26, 2001

"My God," I thought, "I'm sitting on stage playing with Chris Layer, Paul Woodiel, and Susie Petrov. What did I do to get here?"

The Cranbury gig happened on Saturday, and with a couple of holes, it was darn fine. They will have us again to play. It was reassuring to find a group of Scottish dancers that seemed entirely friendly and welcoming, of dancers as well as musicians. Would that folk elsewhere could take the hint.

Laura and I broke up Saturday night. Things weren't working for me, and experience said that fixing it as soon as I figured that out was the best option.

Well, best comes with many definitions. Dea is plotting my destruction. Laura thinks I never cared about her. Various people don't understand my decision.

Never a dull moment in Swarthmore. Still, somehow we're all surviving, and I at least can see some silver lining to this for those involved. I probably shouldn't write about it here, though. Alas.

Computer architecture exam tomorrow. Fun fun!

Mixed Company gave a concert this evening, to raise awareness of Poverty Awareness Week. We gave a kickoff event along with Cantatrix and Sticks & Stones. Many people came, and they seemed to like our set.

Saw Jesse in the Directing III Night of Scenes today--he was playing Vladimir in Beckett's Waiting For Godot. Also other friends, and lights that I helped hang! Yay!

I go on lighting candles for myself, whether or not the world needs them. One of them is flickering two feet from my hand. It's a little tea light, in a glass holder from Ikea, set on the teal-fabric-covered storage container that functions as my end table.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

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February 22, 2001

My watch battery is dying again, I think. None of the digital functions works. Grar. It's only been five months since I replaced the battery, and they're supposed to last several years.

Thank you for today. Thank you for Autumn, who came and visited today. It's wonderful to see how neat people can be. I think we bonded somewhat, and there was tea. It was lovely and to be repeated.

Thank you for LiErin and Emily and Kathleen, who came to Scottish (L & E) and English (E & K) folk dance classes for the first time this week, and seemingly enjoyed them.

Thank you for Marie, happy today and perhaps hopeful as well.

Thank you for Susie, wonderful in so many ways, good to talk to, wonderful to play music with, and for some reason interested in doing all of these with me. Thank you for the Cranbury gig this Saturday, and for the chance to play with Chris and Paul.

Thank you for Mahler's 4th Symphony. Thank you for Chopin, and Liszt, and Brahms, and all the other dead white men whose compositions I get to study.

And last, thank you for wonder.

Thank you for the wonder that fills your heart with unspeakable happiness. Thank you for the section that comes 46 seconds into Mahler IV's second movement. Thank you for moments of joy, moments of sadness, moments of pizzicato emotion that pique and flee, never to return in the same way. Thank you for parents, and cats, and snow on the walk home, and bad jokes about men on Russian submarines. Thank you for rolling back the stone sometimes, so we can see the world in loveliness.

Thank you for an orchestra conductor, ill-equipped for sudden snow, who goodnaturedly tells of his surreal reaction to its appearance. Thank you for electric toothbrushes, internet message conversations far too late at night, and friends with whom you can share terrible loneliness and make it bearable.

For all these and more, I thank you.

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Old entries
February 20, 2001

Today pretty much sucked. Sucky suck suck suck. There were a few moments of brightness.

To all the dancers I've evidently offended, I'm sorry.

To all the musicians I've evidently offended, I'm sorry.

To all the friends I've evidently offended, I'm sorry.

To the teacher who fabricated the evidence, I'm sorry and wish you hadn't screwed me over quite so effectively this evening. I was pretty happy in my little messed-up world. Thanks for reactivating what is perhaps the most terrible bugaboo I have. Yay self-doubt and self-worth (of the negative, not the Health Center, variety).

To the good friends today, you kicked ass. Immeasurably.

Please, please let tomorrow not suck.

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February 19, 2001

Thank God for good people, for people whose personalities shine, for people who make you feel alive by their very presence.

Thank you, God, for trying times and trying interactions, and for providing ample opportunity for growth, if only we should take it.

Thank you for forcing a time of lowered activity by injury. I'm sure the message is there, though I don't know how to implement its teachings.

Thank you, again, for the people who make it all work out. Thank you for friends new and old, friends who know every twitch of your eyelid, and friends who know them not at all. Thank you for the wonderful variety of life.

Thank you for all of it, good and bad, painful and pleasurable. Thank you.

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February 18, 2001

Twelve days after the last one, and much has happened. I've been selected, apparently, for inclusion in the Breakfast Club, an honor I'm not sure I deserve, but am certainly pleased to have acquired. We'll see where that goes. Eventually I may even make it onto Ophelia's dramatis personae page and graduate from Mixed Company to Friends on the same page à la Honeybabe.

English-Scottish Ball was last night--I ended up playing almost all evening. Eileen and I directed the Grand March at the beginning of the ball, and were reportedly quite elegant. It was good. Then we danced Jack's Health, my only dance of the evening. Alas, I got to dance no Scottish at all. I did, however, play something like 17 dances. Great fun, and we really kicked it on a few sets. Plus, a bunch of new people came and watched the dance and, because of it, plan to take folk dancing class next year! Yay us!

Brahms assignment from Gerry for Music 14 is evil and hellish. I'm still bothered by it, so no more on that.

I'm lighting candles for the world. Actually, I'm just lighting candles for myself. They make my room smell happy, particularly when I blow them out. Phlogiston or whatever.

I spent an hour at Budget Committee's office hours tonight getting reimbursement checks for folk dance people. Fun fun! I can pay people. I must say, being a treasurer is a fair bit of work. Worth it to know that you're making fun things possible.

Susie and I are playing a Scottish tea dance in Cranbury NJ with Paul Woodiel (violin) and Chris Layer (flute, whistles, pipes) this coming Saturday. It should be fun, and I'll even get paid a little bit! Yay! That'll go toward the Low Eb Susato whistle that I bought. Hooray.

I am, apparently, cute. Neat!

I have, once again, forgotten about my Computer Architecture homework. DAR! More to come later, perhaps.

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February 6, 2001

Talked to Lisa Meeden (CS dept. chair) today about the whole majors thing. I've got a plan, now. It'll be good... :crosses fingers: It'll work out somehow.

Handed in my Proposed Major sheet thingy today--application for majors has begun. Joy.

I'd like to share with you a few quotes from Swat professors this semester:

Music 14: Harmony and Counterpoint IV

"Before I play this, I will remind you of the origin of the term 'render'--to rend, pull apart, melt." -- Gerry Levinson

"This is Schubert inventing Mahler." -- Gerry Levinson

"This is Schubert composing Bali Hai." -- Gerry Levinson

CS 23: Computer Architecture

Daniel Sproul '03: "S!"
Bruce Maxwell: "You have very low priority. That interrupt was just way disabled." -- Bruce Maxwell

Music 31: Russian Music

"So, I don't advise any of you to become ruler of Russia. You wouldn't have fun, and you might get killed." -- David Finko

"So she [Tsarina Elizabeth] had eight illegitimate children--like Jesse Jackson." -- David Finko

"You buy a house. Hobgoblin protects your house." -- David Finko

"She rides with some kind of rocket propulsion on broom." -- Finko on Baba Yaga

"Now, what do you think? Do you like it? It is horrible, ya?" -- Finko on Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain"

"You see Russian music--big. Gloomy." -- David Finko

"Unconscious. I cannot speak English on Thursdays." -- David Finko

"You must not dive into this. You will become crazy or become Russian Orthodox monk." -- Finko on Osmoglaseeye chant

"Harmonies taken from Western music. So, Russian music lost originality. Peter the Great is blamed for this." -- David Finko

"You know--Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Mikhail Ivanovitch Glinka--we will call him Mike." -- David Finko

"So... I will play and sing with my wild dog's voice." -- David Finko

"So, forgive my voice of wild dogs." -- Finko on a different day

"I hate when I sing--all cats run away." -- And again

"You see? It is future "Sabre Dance" of Aram Khatchaturian. I knew him personally--we called him Crazy Shishkabob." -- David Finko

And there we are. G'night.

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February 5, 2001

Very quick tonight. Mixed Company melted down tonight at rehearsal.

God, energy drain. I hate arguments so much, and I used to be good at them. Back in the days of feuding with Dave in elementary school, I was a master of the argument.

Then, in my old age, I realized that people often get hurt in arguments, and they lost some of their charm. I wonder if I'll get the old sparkle back someday.

So, life will continue somehow. Let's hope things calm down a bit. We got lots of "snow" today, which is to say rain/snow/sleet/freezing rain. I hope they break out the sanders before classes tomorrow--the paths were damn slick on the way home tonight.

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February 4, 2001

A quick one tonight as it's 2:30 a.m. and I'm damn tired.

I'm still sort of sick, but it's bearable.

The concert last night was good, if long--we did a five song set, the UPenn Penny Loafers did a five song set, and the Bi-Co Looney Tunes did a twenty song set. It was bloody long.

I need to write Amelia's recommendation letter tomorrow. It'll be all good.

Um. Lessee. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern rehearsal this afternoon was quite lovely. I think it's going to be a really cool show--I continue to be amazed by the skill of my fellow actors. They're great!

Drafting tomorrow in lighting design. At 9:30. Bed for me now. NOW!

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February 3, 2001

Lighting Design rocks my world.

Seriously, I think this may be the most fun I've yet had in a class at Swarthmore. It's wonderful--fun people, good prof, fascinating subject, opportunities for self-teaching... Most days after class, I spend an hour futzing around in the Frear, our teaching "black box" theatre, just messing with things and getting a feel for them. On Friday, I went in, hung a Source Four spotlight, patched it, focused it, wrote cues for it, took it down, and put it away. Not overly "productive", but I think anything that helps you get used to your equipment has to be a good thing. I love this class.

Russian Music turns out to have been a good idea--wonderful music, good history, and anecdotes told by a man who lived under Stalin. Professor Finko is the first truly quotable professor I've had; he said of a certain kind of Russian chant "Don't dive too deep into this--you will become crazy or you will become Russian Orthodox monk." Interesting that a man trained by the Russian Navy in submarine architecture chose to become a composer once his service to the state was finished.

I'm currently irritated with both the CS and Music departments, though. For next year, three of four music profs and two of four CS profs will be on leave. This is not what was advertised when they tried to convince us to come to Swarthmore.

It gets better, though. The CS department, because of chronic overcrowding, is capping the number of students who can take the major. They're capping it at 25; there were at least 35 sophomores at the interest meeting for choosing majors. Essentially, they're going to tell some of us "sorry, we have a quota system in place, so you're out." This is because of some dumbfuck College policy that evidently requires that every department receive a new faculty member before any department may receive a second new one. Great. CS is the third largest major in the college, and there are four profs. We have to wait to get another one until more than twenty new faculty are hired? Good move, Swat. Way to kill off the future. CS really needs to double its faculty to offer the kind of experience Swarthmore advertises--in my two years, I've yet to have a CS class with fewer than 35 students in it; a far cry from the "98% of Swarthmore classes have less than 20 students" figure stated by the Admissions Office.

We are, needless to say, not amused.

We're all trying to figure out what to do about it--if there's some way I can enlist your help, I'll let you know.

Mixed Company has a concert tonight, at Haverford College. More on that once I know more about it.

I'm playing a Tragedian, a musician, and Fortinbras in Catherine Osborne's production of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead this semester. We've got a great cast, and it should be much fun. For this show, all the male actors are to grow beards. This is slightly problematic for me, as I have fine, lightly colored hair. We'll see if it works out--for now, I'm worried that I'm going to have scruffiness for 8 weeks until they tell me to shave it off because it's not working. Alas.

Eileen and I are now official members of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Delaware Valley Branch! Yay! We've been going to outside dance classes a lot, and it's cheaper if you're a member. So now we're dues-paying members, have done our bit to support dancing in the Philadelphia area, and will receive newsletters/books/etc. Fun stuff!

My mother just sent me an IM saying that my cousin Shawn just died very suddenly. I never met him, we think, which makes it hurt more, since he lived only an hour away. There was no warning for his death--he'd been skiing with his son and had a burst aneurysm while driving home. Odd that it makes you feel so guilty for not having been in contact, now that you can never mend the error.

I ask your thoughts and prayers for family and friends, specifically Aunt Dot and Uncle Ron, my cousin Shawn, his wife Carol, and their two children, Shane and Allison.

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